I recently renewed my paid membership in AIIM, the Global Association for Information Professionals, for whom I am also the Chief Information Officer. I have been a member of AIIM in some form going back to 2003. To the right is my 2003 welcome letter from John Mancini that I stumbled upon just the other day.
I’ve also been a member of the Association of Computing Machinery (ACM) since 1998. This is a Computer Science based association. I interacted with them back in college but joined them years later because I liked their programs and I had the money to join.
My Career, Not My Job
Lane asked a good question. The answer is No. I could likely get a 100% discount for my membership if I wanted without the hassle of an expense report. I could even let my membership in AIIM lapse because I get access to all the benefits as the CIO.
Except I belong to AIIM and ACM for me, not my job. I have used my membership in both organizations to improve my skills for my career. Sure, those skills could be applied to my current job, but the motive was to do my job better in order to advance my career.
I pay for my membership in AIIM and ACM because it is MY membership and MY career, not the organization that signs my paycheck. When I move on to the next stage of my career, I’ll still own these memberships.
Of course, my career is evolving and the associations that can help my career will change as well. Recently someone asked me why I hadn’t joined the Association of Association Executives (ASAE). The reason is simple, I want to see if my stop in the association space is a short-term or long-term move before I invest.
My rule of thumb right now is that if things are looking good for me at AIIM after a year, I’ll break down and add ASAE to my list of associations…
…And I’ll pay for it myself.